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What is Workers Compensation and How Does it Work?

what is workers compensation

Life is very uncertain. An accident or injury is inevitable. Sooner or later, at your workplace, the environment and the surroundings take a toll on your body. With ever varying business processes, the effects on our physical and mental health are significant. 

Some jobs today require you to be in the comfort of your home. And some are as dangerous as working in a minefield. For example, you are an electronics technician working on directional telecom antennas. Sounds risky, doesn’t it. The fact of the matter is even with exceptional advancement in technology, ergonomics, and workplace safety standards, the dangers of accidents, injuries, and health hazards are still very much a reality.

In anticipation of such circumstances, organizations come forward for the welfare of their employees who are susceptible to injuries, accidents, and ill-health. 

The worker’s compensation plans support the medical needs of the employees whose health has suffered on the job. Let us discuss in brief detail “what” is worker’s compensation? And how does it work?

What is worker’s compensation?

Workers compensation, also known as work injury compensation, is a mandatory obligation devised by all the states in America. It is a social welfare program derived for the benefit and support of employees who have suffered grave health issues, diseases, and accidents on the job.

When we talk about “on” the job, it means during any process or assignment which was the cause of the accident or health hazard. The incidents don’t need to occur at the company’s office or the manufacturing or service units. The employer is responsible and liable if an accident or injury occurred when the employee was disbursing his duties. Let it be clear, an accident when an employee is on the way to or from home will not be considered on duty and cannot claim worker’s compensation.

Worker’s compensation is a compulsory requirement in all the states of the US. There is a slight variation in what the states consider standards of workplace safety and compensation rates. 

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What is worker’s compensation? | The Benefits

The answer to the question of what is worker’s compensation must mention the benefits for both the employees who claim the indemnification and the employer fulfilling his legal and social obligation.

The benefits of the employee are of much greater importance. If an employee has suffered an injury or is disabled on duty, the medical expenses for hospitalization, rehabilitation, and the loss of income during hospitalization require a lot of money. 

The worker’s compensation plan provides for all the costs and expenses. The employee will have to bear on his/her if no such compensation exists. The employer is responsible and pays for all the hospitalization, rehabilitation, and loss of income costs as; per the employment contract. Such workers compensation agreements secure the future in case of any disability, permanent or temporary.

In the very same manner, the employer is also secure. If there is no workers compensation program in effect in the organization, the business is liable for an accident or injury to the employee. The employee may file lawsuits to claim gross negligence and subpar workplace safety standards. The employee who has suffered can take the company to court, resulting in much higher settlements plus the lawyers and court fees. 

The court can also impose huge, and we mean huge fines if the company has not adopted safety standards. All this can cost large sums of money and defamation.

Employers hence choose to adopt and update worker’s compensation plans at their organization. The employer pays for all the hospitalization, rehabilitation, and loss of income, the funeral and burial service costs at pre-agreed terms and conditions. In financial terms, the expenses significantly reduce and the employees are also satisfied.

What is worker’s compensation? | The need

Let it be crystal clear; having a workers compensation program in effect at your organization is mandatory by laws of the state. Every employer must ensure and cover the employees before an injury or illness. You may face penalties if your organization does not comply with state regulations.  

What is worker’s compensation? | Workers compensation insurance:

Since worker’s compensation plans are mandatory and you cannot deny that accidents can happen at any time, your business needs to be covered. 

Your organization needs protection from the costs you might incur when such an accident occurs. And your employee has suffered. You know, you are liable for all the expenses for his medical treatment. The worker’s compensation insurance plans allow you to fulfill your obligation towards your employees and pay for whatever the pre-agreed costs are.  

Worker’s compensation insurance coverage provides ample support for both; the medical care needs of the employees and the loss of income if an employee has suffered disability (partial or complete).

Depending upon the state regulations, workers compensation insurance can cover:

  • Medical expenses such as hospital visits, medications, and emergencies.
  • Loss of income if your employee takes time away from work to recover.
  • Ergonomic arrangements when your employee returns to work.
  • Disability benefits if a work-related injury causes a partial or permanent disability.
  • Rehabilitation costs, such as physical therapy.

Worker’s compensation insurance also supports the insured by bearing all the lawyer and court expenditures if an employee has sued the company for negligence and causing injury or permanent health issues. 

 Workers compensation insurance | The costs:

The worker’s compensation costs differ from state to state in the US. With as low as $ 1 per $100 of payroll. The average premium costs in the US for the year 2021 is $1.56. 

The number of employees on the payroll, the state law (which differ in all the states), the worker’s compensation class codes influence the cost of the worker’s compensation.

The National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) or your state assigns workers compensation class codes. Each employee gets a unique code based on the type of work they do. 

What is worker’s compensation? | The claim process:

The employee must immediately report to the HR department of the organization about the accident or injury. The employer should take the following steps to ensure the employee’s safety and well-being. 

  1. Take the employee to a licensed medical professional, have all the tests and the diagnosis documented. The first step should always be the treatment of the injury that assures the employee’s well-being.
  2. Contact the insurance company for the reimbursement of the medical expenses incurred for the treatment. Provide any necessary details. The employee should file a formal claim with the employer’s insurance company.
  3. The employee receives the benefits of the workers’ compensation plan, recover and return to work.

What is worker’s compensation? | How to select the appropriate coverage:

The state laws are primary guidelines for the worker’s compensation plan for your organization. The employer must have updated knowledge of the state laws on worker’s compensation. A complicated situation can arise if your organization operates in more than one state since, in every state, the regulations are different.

In such cases, an informed and experienced insurance agent is the best option. A preferable choice is an insurance company or agent that has a nationwide approach. 

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